Financial Stability

United Way of Passaic County understands the local economy and is working with individuals, employers and government to create a stronger community. Through our efforts, individuals are seeing success and communities are being impacted by improved financial stability.

Learn About the Issue

More than 75,000 Passaic County residents meet the federal definition of poverty, including 23 percent of the county's children, but in total 45% of all households here do not have enough income to support all the basic necessities of life.

85% of low and moderate income households in Passaic County are spending more than 35% of their income on housing costs alone; while the majority of job demand in Passaic County in the next decade will be for low-skilled, low paid work.

United Way of Passaic County's Financial Empowerment Zone (FEZ) lifts the economic prospects of low-income individuals and families by providing free tax preparation, financial literacy education,  and college access.

Together With Our Partners, United Way of Passaic County

  • Assisted 1300 low- and moderate-income individuals with their tax preparation. 72 volunteers contributed more than 2400 hours of service.
  • Offers Your Money, Your Goals training via the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to engage case managers and other front-line staff to educate their clients about money and appropriate spending and budgeting
  • Provided grant funding-- matched by Passaic County Department of Human Services-- to NJ 2-1-1 for the provision of 24h/7day information and referral services for almost 4,000 callers.

The Financial Empowerment Zone (FEZ)

United Way of Passaic County's Financial Empowerment Zone (FEZ) helps individuals and families attain and preserve assets, become more financially stable, and achieve long-term economic independence.


Stagnant incomes, increases in the cost of living and high levels of unemployment have increase the financial instability of thousands of residents in Passaic County. With 83,000 people living below the Federal poverty level, Passaic County, ranks first in New Jersey in both numbers and percentages (17.2%) of households living in poverty. Over a quarter of all children in our county live below the poverty threshold.

An additional 30% do not earn enough to be considered self-sufficient - in all, almost half of Passaic County households are struggling. New Jersey and Federal budget cuts have decreased funding for health and human service programs that have traditionally provided a safety net for our Passaic County neighbors in these hard times.

Services Provided by Financial Empowerment Zone:

  • Free Income Tax Preparation through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Care for Elderly (TCE) Programs.

Please visit our Tax Site from February through early April for assistance, appointments can be made online by clicking here or visiting NJ211. The following services are provided at our VITA Tax site:

  • Federal and State Income Tax Preparation.
  • Assistance with New Jersey Property Tax Reimbursement (Senior Freeze) and Homestead Benefit forms
  • Screening for Health Insurance
  • Referral and assistance with FAFSA

Made your appointment? Ready to go? Here is what you will need to bring with you:

Tax Site Appointment:

  • Photo Identification: Passport; Driver’s License; State ID; County ID; Military and/or other National ID
  • Social Security Cards or Statements or ITIN cards for everyone listed on the return
  • For married filing jointly, both spouses must be present
  • All income information: W-2, 1098, and/or 1099 forms
  • A copy of last year’s tax return
  • Amount of the total paid to your daycare provider, and the Tax ID number for the provider;
  • Forms 1095 (ACA statements for health care) for the Marketplace;
  • For direct deposit, a check or your routing and account numbers

Financial Education through Your Money Your Goals program.

ALICE Report

As part of United Way of Morris County's mission to advance the common good of our communities, a task force was created to better understand the families and individuals living and working in Morris County who are struggling to make ends meet. This population was brought to life as ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. United Way's volunteer task force gathered data about ALICE so that we can explore the challenges preventing this population from attaining financial independence.

Download the ALICE Report